Arizona

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After a dismal 2016-2017 season, it is easy to start drawing conclusions. If any team has any sort of negative turnaround there starts to become speculation because well, it’s easy. One of the main questions that circles the Arizona Cardinals is, Does Carson Palmer have enough left in the tank? In an interview with “Tiki and Tierney” on CBS Sports, head coach Bruce Arians had something to say about that.

“Physically, body-wise, it’s like he’s 28 right now,” Arians said. “Sports science is amazing right now. He can play easily until he’s 42 if he wants to. He is hungry as hell right now. I wouldn’t let him go in OTAs. It was like taking candy away from a kid.” Arians continued.

As a coach dubbed “the quarterback whisperer”. I think he knows what he is talking about. Just in case, let’s see the numbers from last season. Carson finished the year with 26 touchdown passes and 14 interceptions, amassing a total of 4,233 yards on the season. He finished the year ranking ninth in yards and tenth in touchdowns among active quarterbacks. So even though the Cards had a bad year, he is still a top-ten quarterback.

Palmer is not stopping the Cardinals from reaching the next level. There needs to be a certain level of veteran leadership on any elite team. The only people that are in the way of that happening is themselves. Football is just as much of a mental game as it is physical.

Coach Arians blames the entire season on one game, the week one loss against the New England Patriots. Why?

“I think a lot of it goes back to the New England game,” Arians said. “Had we won the game like we should have, with the field goal, I think the whole season is different. Why we didn’t finish the (Week 4) Ram win? Those first two losses at home set us way back for the season, because you had to fight from the back end of the hole the rest of the way.”

The issue for the Arizona Cardinals in 2016 was not Carson Palmer, Larry Fitzgerald, the offensive line, or the defensive line. It was the inability to win close ball games. If Arizona won those two close games like they should have against a Tom Brady-less Pats team and the over-hyped Los Angeles Rams, the Cardinals would have made the post season as wild card team.

The 2016 season was a fluke for the Arizona Cardinals. Even with it being a fluke, they still finished second in the NFC West. This season they are going in with a completely new mindset and after some exciting picks in the draft and because of that, the Arizona Cardinals and their fans will be able to forget about last season completely.

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To begin, I will start with a lyric from Metallica, this comes from their song, Wherever I May Roam, “I adapt to the unknown/Under wandering stars I’ve grown/By myself but not alone/I ask no one/ And my ties are severed clean/The less I have the more I gain/Off the beaten path I reign.” The reason I use this particular lyric is not only because it is a great song, but also because it perfectly encompasses the feeling of being a San Diego Chargers fan in enemy territory, Arizona.

Although the Cardinals and Chargers are not division rivals, there is still the unspoken Arizona versus California rivalry that gets created because of all of the people who have moved between the two states.

The unknown, refers to the feeling of whenever I wear my Chargers jersey to the University of Phoenix Stadium. I am highly uncertain of the reactions that will be thrown my way. Some may approach and try to have a healthy conversation where we discuss sports and whatever is going on with each others teams, such as, Philip Rivers or Larry Fitzgerald.

Others do the uneducated and frankly stupid thing many sports fans on social media are guilty. They utter the short, dastardly and annoying phrase, “Your team sucks!” Now that is all well and good…… If they can back it up. Most times, they are too drunk to remember why they stated that in the first place so it is kinda funny to ask why and watch them stumble on their words.

The wandering stars refers to the fact that I have lived in Arizona my entire life. So how did I become a Chargers fan you ask? It’s kind of a dumb story but I have never looked back since. When I was younger, my family would often vacation to the San Diego area and there was one time I can remember, we were at the convenience store on the southwest corner of Shelter Island Drive and Scott street. Me being my curious young self I picked up a koozie with a Chargers lightning bolt on it. When I got back I turned on the Madden game I had at the time, and I have grown more and more in my fanhood each year since. That was around…… 14-15 years ago.

By myself but not alone, refers to the surprisingly large presence of Chargers fans that inhabit the metro-Phoenix area that I call home.

The less I have the more I gain, off the beaten path I reign, refers to the ability that I was able to find within myself being the only Chargers fan at my school. When I realized it was actually a huge advantage to have a team not in the state of Arizona. Also, to me any team that does not have a Super Bowl ring from after the AFL-NFL merger is off the beaten path.

A lot of sports fans will gravitate to teams like the Dallas Cowboys, the San Francisco 49ers and the Pittsburgh Steelers. Their loyalty is purely based upon the fact that they have a pull safe that they can use if they are ever in a sports argument. That pull safe is “Well, we have rings.” It is a luxury a fan of those teams can use without ever watching a football game.

This is what makes the San Diego Chargers fan base so strong. It’s called faith. Similar to the Chicago Cubs, all we are able to do is look forward to the future rather than living our lives in the past. That is what we will do this season. We will charge forward, not just on the field, but off the field. In the stands we will charge forward. Why? It is because that is what our team needs, and also because of the community it builds.

 

Bolt Up Charger Brigade.

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The San Diego Chargers are an essential part of the San Diego community, whether people would like to realize it or not. They are as big if not bigger than the Padres in the San Diego area. Not only would it be a disservice to the fans to let the team move, it would also be a major disservice to the city at large.

A new stadium would bring in all sorts of new revenue. Among them are advertisements, restaurants, tourism, and especially sports fans that want to see something new. If they were to extend the convention center and go with the Convadium plan, that would guarantee that San Diego will be a permanent home for one of the most beneficial events for the San Diego economy in the cities’ recent history, Comic-Con.

Comic-Con has brought in several hundred million dollars in just one appearance. Imagine the amount of tourists all around the globe that would go to visit the new Comic-Con museum. With this museum, one can still bring in stars such as William Shatner, Mark Hamill, and Robert Downey Jr., to do autograph signings and still make money in the offseason. The Comic-Con museum would only be a small part of the massive revenue that the city would bring in.

The rest comes with the territory of having a new stadium. The stadium can host more than just football games, it can hold concerts, and other sporting events. For example, the University Of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, AZ, was able to host the College Football Playoff Championship game, will hold a Guns-N-Roses concert, a One Direction Concert, and even world soccer recently with the Copa America match that was just held there.

All of these events benefit the city’s economy. When people come to the events, they don’t just attend the event and leave, they go and spend their money at restaurants, buy commemorative merchandise in the stores surrounding the venue, and some even pay for public transportation to and from the event.

The biggest reason that this stadium is a good idea, is the same reason that the Chargers play every single Sunday during the season, the Super Bowl.  No company spends any less than ten million dollars to get their name associated with the Super Bowl. The advertising is just one small part of it, the rest comes with tickets to the game, the gambling surrounding the game, and of course, tourism. When New Orleans hosted the Super Bowl, it brought in 480-million dollars to the city’s economy according to Fox Business.

Hosting a Super Bowl can be considered a city’s chance to show off to all sorts of perspective tourists that a city like San Diego, with Cornado, Seaworld, and any beach in the area, is practically guaranteed to have repeat tourism. Obviously, it will cost a lot to build, but adding that three-percent hotel sales tax will be sure to cover it. It’s worth it with the city making a large profit, with zero taxpayer dollars involved. The possibilities are endless.

Agree or disagree? Post your thoughts in the comments below. Thank you for reading.

 

 

Corey Decker

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The Chargers defeated the Lions in Week 1 by a score of 33-28. The Chargers defense held the “Gold-atron” (Golden Tate/Calvin Johnson aka “Megatron”) combination to less than 100 combined receiving yards. That is very tough to do. That shows this secondary is very good and will be very good moving forward.

The secondary consisting of Brandon Flowers, Jason Verrett, Eric Weddle, Jahleel Addae/Jimmy Wilson combination, looks to be one of the best that the Chargers have had in quite some time. But there is one player in that secondary who really stands out to me.

His name is Jason Verrett.

Verrett, the 2014 first-round draft pick out of Texas Christian (TCU), is getting better and better by the week. His assignment in Week 1 was shadowing Golden Tate, in which Tate went four catches on eight targets for 24 yards. Tate’s lowest totals last season, in terms of catches, targets and receiving yards, was Week 10 versus an elite secondary in Arizona. He finished with only two catches on two targets for 41 yards. On Sunday, he averaged a meager six yards per reception. In 2014, he averaged 13.4 yards per reception. In 2013, he averaged 14.0 yards per reception. In 2012, he averaged 15.3 yards per reception. I’m not going to go back any further, because I think you get the point. Tate is a very good runner with the ball in his hands and last season he was 3rd in the entire league with 691 yards after catch.

There was one play I want to focus on. In the second half of the game against Detroit, the Lions ran a wide receiver bubble in where they had Tate screened and with two blockers in front. Verrett weaved his way around the first blocker and made a fantastic solo, open-field tackle. The stop forced the Lions to punt.

These are the type of plays that only a few players in the league make on a guy of Tate’s caliber.

Jason Verrett is special. I do think if he stays healthy, he has all the tools and talent to become an elite, shutdown cornerback. His man-coverage ability is insane for his NFL experience. His instincts, which he was lauded for coming out of college, couldn’t be better and his open-field tackling might be the best on the team. Look for this guy to take his game to the next level this season, and prove to the NFL world that when they talk about top corners in the league, to not forget about No. 22, Jason Verrett.

Zak Darman

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We all have moments in our lives when we are presented with situations which, perhaps, would allow us to take the next step toward greatness.  A step that could possibly enable us to achieve the ultimate goal.  Whatever that goal may be, were you threatened and terrified by the opportunity?  Did it cause you to fold and stop believing in yourself due to the pressure?  Knowing that failing would end in taking a step back, were you able to overcome your deficiencies and insecurities to ensure that you were positioning yourself for that next step toward everything you have worked for to avoid failure?

At some point in our lives, we have all been there.

To a degree, these are the issues that face the Chargers this Sunday.

Injuries and a lack of consistency — both offensively and defensively — have plagued the Bolts.  Are these excuses or reasons for having to battle their way into the playoffs this Sunday?  Perhaps even a bit of disbelief in their ability to achieve greatness due to so many wrongs that needed to be righted may have come into play?

I have no clue.

There is a knock on the door, San Diego.  Before you find out who it is, reach deep down and ask yourself if you’ve done all you can to succeed and achieve all that you’ve “said” you’ve wanted.

It is no longer about lip service and broken promises within one’s own mind.  Talk is cheap.  And that includes when attempting to convince yourself that you’re doing everything within your plan to be where you’d ideally like to end up.

Are you actually doing it?

Sure, the fact that the team is employing the one-game-at-a-time strategy makes sense.  Each win gives them another chance to further the levels of their confidence and mojo.  But keeping your eyes on the long-term prize shows that each and every game could be your last, unless you refuse to believe in that.

The ultimate prize in the NFL is to win a Super bowl.  A second trip to Glendale, Arizona for the 2014 season would be just that for the San Diego Chargers.  It could even equate to an opportunity to get even with the week 1 opponent that beat them should Arizona do the unthinkable and play a Super bowl in their own stadium.

As many analysts, media members and myself have pointed out, the Chargers control their own destiny.

Let’s get back to that knock at the door.

You answer the door, and it just so happens that it is destiny.  Would you prefer to see them as a mother-in-law you’re determined to get out as quickly as possible?  Or that future wife that you have prematurely decided could be a mainstay in helping you become everything you want, need and deserve to become?  Maybe that knock from destiny gives you the hope you have been searching for.  If you can find it within yourselves, San Diego, make destiny a long-term solution.  But it all starts with you; not the ones that surround you and that you believe in.

Believing in yourself only allows those around you to better themselves.  Which, in turn, establishes a trust that they can do all that you’re doing while they’re watching you give it your all.  Why?  Because they will see the example you’re setting and latch onto what you’ve shown them is possible.  That is when the chemistry begins and unfolds. That is when a team, whether it be a married couple, two partners dating, a friendship or a football team begin to overcome the odds.

It has to start with you.  It’s infectious and it will spread like wildfire if you can show the rest of your peers that you have what it takes to give it your all.  Not many people are built like that.  Especially not in today’s society.  Giving just enough to get by has become the status quo and new goal in the world that we live in today.  But who is willing to rise above?

Chargers, don’t fall into that trap.  Do not allow yourselves to rely on others to pick you up at this time.  As the NFL goes, you’re only as strong as your weakest link.  But what have you done to set an example for that person to become better?  And what have they done to elevate your abilities?  That means that everyone must play their best for the remainder of this campaign.  There are no excuses or reasons.  It is all about moving forward and, to a degree, answering that knock on the door of destiny knowing that you are ready to finish what you started.

Destiny is knocking on the door for the San Diego Chargers.  Fling that door open and make sure that you are willing to give all that you have to make sure that you leave with a sense of satisfaction that proves destiny chose its destination appropriately.

It is mirror-time.  But don’t wait for it to happen.  Generally, waiting for it to happen means that you’ve waited too long and it is too late.  Get in that mirror tonight and prove to yourselves that you’re prepared and ready to give your best.  It is now or never.  That doesn’t only pertain to the Chargers; it goes for a lot of us as well.

 

Booga Peters

 

 

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( Photo Credit:  Jesse Arroyo  Jesse Arroyo Photography www.ArroyoPhotos.com )

 

 

 

 

Every team in the NFL has some terms and idioms that are very specific to their organization; terrible towel, the 12th man, and the red sea to name a few. As a San Diego Charger fan, there are five terms you should know and memorize in order to increase your knowledge of the organization and become an even better fan. Now, some of these have been used since before my time, even when my parents were young football fans. Don’t feel bad if you’re a little behind, because even the players and experts need to know the specific terminology used.

San Diego Super Chargers

If you have ever been to a Charger game at Qualcomm Stadium, you have heard the fight song. If you haven’t been to a game, you need to stop what you’re doing and buy tickets to the next home game. The song was written in 1979 and had an undoubtedly disco sound to it. It was re-written in 1989, excluding the disco flare, and is used at home games after scoring and victories. It’s so popular that I have met various NFL fans that know the words and can recite it. I can hear it now, San Diego Super Chargers, San Diego Super Chargers (very high voice).

The Murph

Not to be confused with a Crossfit workout called the Murph, but way back before many were even born, Qualcomm Stadium was named Jack Murphy Stadium. Yeah, it really is that old for all you kids born after 1998. The stadium was once named after Jack Murphy, a sportswriter who built the support for the stadium back in 1965. Before he died, Bob Murphy, a former New York Mets broadcaster and brother, still referred to the stadium as Jack Murphy Stadium. To this day, there are still those that call the stadium “The Murph”.

Bolo Knows 

Last year, the Chargers marched into Denver and defeated the Denver Broncos in a Thursday Night Football showdown. After the game, Deion Sanders and company interviewed Philip Rivers. What caught most eyes while watching the post-game show was Rivers’ shiny bolo tie that a fan made for him. Ever since then, the bolo tie has been a symbol of how well Rivers can play in clutch scenarios. It was so popular that you can now buy t-shirts with the logo on it. I haven’t seen this yet, but someone please wear one for the remaining home games.

One Charge

Have you seen this saying all over the Chargers website or even on tickets? It’s because the Bolts are a family that includes their fans and charging as one is one of the main goals of the organization. When fans gather in the stadium, getting as loud as possible when the other team is on third down is charging as one. Even gathering at a tailgate party or meetup defines this whole concept. Have you seen a team successful without working as one? I haven’t.

Bolt Up

This is a term used by a lot of fans, personnel, and experts. Basically, it means get ready and prepare for the Chargers to play some football. It can be used many ways, but if you notice on Facebook or even Twitter people say the term “Bolt Up” in a positive way. Anytime I say it, I’m usually pumped up, heart beating fast, Chargers jersey on, beer in hand, and ready for kick off. Even if you Google search Bolt Up, you won’t find much, but that’s ok it’s a Charger thing.

I guarantee that using these expressions will make you an even better Charger fan. Also, don’t be afraid to express your enthusiasm for Bolt pride. Sure, I might sound silly screaming the Charger fight song in the middle of a Packers bar or referring to “The Murph” while living in Arizona, but I don’t care because I remain a fan; I know you all do too.

 

Briana Soltis

 

EDITOR’S NOTE:  As of the beginning of this offseason, there is one phrase/term that stands out to me that could have been included in this article, “Next man up.”  Many fans are sick of hearing it, but, the fact of the matter is, it has been exercised and used to the fullest in San Diego.

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